Currently showing posts tagged Rachel James

  • Life and Death of the Musical Soul

    Life and Death of the Musical Soul

    Music has saved me a million times over, but sometimes it feels like the music business is killing me.  I could write a diatribe describing the roller coaster ride that being in music has taken me on.  Down to hell, up to heaven, and terrifyingly concerned during the in-betweens.  Awash in an industry reeking of moral hypocrisy, fareweather friendships, reality tv attention spans, and the almighty dollar trumping the priceless art form that we call music, I have felt a thousand small deaths.  I have heard I'm too old, too pretty, too ugly, too edgy, too unique, not unique enough, too country, too pop, too much.  I've been at conferences and had people who didn't know me tell me I don't know myself as an artist.  I've laughed at the number of rejections and the number of unreturned emails.  I've cried for the self-destructive band members, the friends who were just using me, the lost dreams that still wander through my mind while I'm innocently sleeping.  

    I think people think that doing this for a living is easy and fun and a party and a good time.  I'm going o tell you.  It is work.  Beautiful and demanding and absolutely amazing and absolutely harsh.  But any entrepreneur will tell you, it is one of the most challenging self-discoveries to start a business and really try to succeed.  Doing this through music could be called therapy.  At the same time the word torture comes to mind.  Nevertheless, in my life, music is and has always been about love.  Something seems to be more true when it is put to song.  And I keep coming back to it.  And it has never left me.  At my most broken, my least successful, my heaviest moments, there is my G-d, my prayers and my piano.  I have leaned heavily into the arms of music and have found refuge where G-d reminds me that music, first and foremost, is spiritual, is for healing, is a bridge to connect what cannot be said but what can be understood.  

    On days where I don't see the path, I will come to this post and try to remember not to complain.  Music has given me life and love where only death existed.  Even right down to being the path to my husband and my daughter.  I see my son heal through music.  I watch kids at Children's Hospital laugh and sing when we play.  I work with charities and good hearted people who tell us to keep going, that we made a difference.  The business is.  I cannot change it.  Some days it's good, many days it is crushing.  What can I do.  I'm left with the reasons I came to music and found truth and beauty and a well of good intention.  I can only hold music close and try not to let it go as I go around for one more turn on the roller coaster ride that is the music industry.    

  • The Random Song that Hits You...

    I remember the first time I heard this song by Alpha Rev.  It stopped me.  That doesn't happen very often to me anymore.  I listen to, practice, and play music everyday.  I hear SO many songs.  And so many are quite good, but lack that heart tingle, that wave of atmosphere that I used to experience in the 90's.  But every great once in a while, I it happens.  And, well, it's like love.  The whole room changes and you are swept into it.  

    This weekend, I just thought I'd share a little gem like this one.  I hope our music will do that for somebody somewhere.  Because that is one of music's greatest gifts.  A lifting, pulsing moment when hope and joy and thought intermingle to create an atmosphere where the listener can settle in and imagine and dream and be inspired.  Music does this so so well when it is done right.  OH, to have every song I hear make me feel something!  

    Happy Friday!


    Rachie and Dearling

  • What Happens When You Take a Risk...

    What Happens When You Take a Risk...

    It's 2016.  And there's a part of me that is terrified.  But this part of me is the smallest it's ever been.  Probably due to a whirlwind 6 years in music that make any rollercoaster ride look like a walk on the beach.  But still, this year, it's a little different.  

    For the first time, I walked away from steady work to take extra time to pursue my songwriting career and band.  From Colorado.  Which is meaningful.  We can't move, we have to stay here.  And all the industry analysts assure me, I can only become a successful songwriter in Nashville, or LA.  I don't have a shot.  So I'm jumping off the proverbial cliff.  Choosing to believe that a way will be made where one doesn't exist yet. 

    The old me would have called this crazy, nuts, temporary insanity, a risk to run after the riskiest business in the world, a failed decision.  That old bat is still tinkering around in my head, holding onto that fear like a bitter old woman in denial that her life is almost over.  But it is.  

    Not because I know what is going to happen.  Not because I have it all figured out.  That fear mongerer is breathing her last breath, because I took this step.  I'm running after my dream.  Not hobbling, not spending my extra time on it, I'm actively pursuing it with all of the energy I can give it.  I'm the Optimism Superhero.  Optimism lady.  Well, three quarters of the time, at least. 

    The Old Bat says, "But dreams don't pay the bills."

    Optimism says,  "But maybe they can!"

    Old Bat,  "But maybe they won't."

    Optimism lady, "But maybe they will!"

    Bat,  "But maybe you're not good enough."

    Optimus Mom Hero "But maybe I am!"

    Bat, "But maybe, even if you are good enough, nobody will buy your music.  People don't buy music anymore."

    Optimism Lady, "I will find a way."

    Will I find a way?  I need to pay the bills, feed my kids, go to the dentist.  But I also need to teach my kids a sense of adventure, what it means to take a risk, how to dream and pursue a dream.  I think so many people have this discussion with themselves.  

    We were made to live and walk in hope.  So I'm writing this with every intention of stamping out that final flicker of fear.

    Optimism lady chose this year to make her big break.  Boy, I hope she does it.  See you on the other side;)

    Your friend Rachel from the family of Dearling.